It was the first time Viet Nguyen visited Fort Indiantown Gap since his family were refugees there in the summer of 1975.
While Nguyen doesn’t remember much about that time, he remembers it was crowded – and an incredibly difficult time for his family and more than a million other Vietnamese refugees who went through a similar experiencing while fleeing from the North Vietnamese invasion of South Vietnam.
More than 20,000 Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees were housed at Fort Indiantown Gap after the Vietnam War.
Nguyen, today a professor at the University of Southern California and an accomplished writer and author, shared his story with Fort Indiantown Gap through a recent article by former Lebanon Daily News reporter Brad Rhen, who now works for the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Nguyen told Rhen that his family doesn’t talk much about the experience.
“My parents were in their 40s, they came out of poverty in Vietnam and were very successful, then they lost almost everything and they had to come live in the barracks,” said Nguyen. “I’m not sure they want to talk about that experience.”
His memories are a sobering reminder of the human impact of the decades-long conflict which shaped a generation or more of Vietnamese and American lives.
Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using the contact form below and we’ll do our best to get back to you.
Do you support local news?
If you believe that Lebanon County needs independent, high-quality journalism, consider joining LebTown as a member. Your support will go directly towards stories like this and you will be helping ensure that our community has a reliable news source for years to come.
Learn more about membership and join now here.